iStock_000013838194XSmallA fire broke out earlier this morning at Miller Chemical, a chemical and fertilizer manufacturing company in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Explosions and potentially hazardous smoke prompted shelter-in-place alerts issued by local police to residents and businesses within a one mile radius. Currently, the fire is contained; however, the cause of the blaze is still unknown.

When devising your business and family emergency preparedness plans, it is important to know what threats you are at greater risk of encountering. If you work or live in an area near the manufacture, storage, or transport of chemicals, be sure to include the following steps to respond to airborne hazards:

  • Stay in the building or go inside right away.
  • Do not call 911 unless you are reporting an immediate life-threatening situation or if you have information related to the immediate cause of the crisis event.
  • Close all outside doors and windows and as many internal doors as possible.
  • Turn off HVAC systems and all exhaust fans in kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Seal cracks around doors and windows with duct tape, and seal gaps under doorways with damp cloths, paper towels, or clothing. If the shelter area includes an outside wall, cover electrical outlets with duct tape.
  • If you suspect you are being exposed to gas or vapor fumes inside the building, cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth and call 911.

Additionally, identify small, interior rooms to shelter-in-place that have no or few windows depending on which events require sheltering-in-place. Also, ensure there are enough rooms to accommodate all employees for each floor and all family members in your house.

For more information on ways to stay prepared, contact your Client Services representative.

Marlia Fontaine-Weisse is the Content Manager for Preparis.